VCCS Litonline

Exodos
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Objective for this Page: To summarize and question the chorusís final comments on all that has occurred in the play.

Summary

The chorus notes the importance of wisdom and honoring the gods; they claim that since pride is undone by fate, we will learn wisdom from observing the proud being punished.

Commentary

A theme for this play could be that wisdom is the source of true joy.  None of the characters in Antigone showed wisdom in the decisions they made.  Creon, in all of his pride, is struck with disasters sent by the gods to cut short his foolishness.  Antigone's love for her parents and brothers leads to her taking her own life, embracing the dead and despairing of the living.  Haemon and Eurydice express their grief for loss of their loved ones by committing suicide; both apparently blame Creon and would rather be with their loved ones in the afterlife than spend this life with him.

Study Questions

bulletSince the chorus is often wrong or misguided in their comments on the actions of characters in a play, could the chorus be right about the theme of the play?
bulletModern critics warn us against boiling down a work of literature to a moral axiom, but the chorus does just that.  What might be a better theme statement than the one that ends this play?
bulletAristotle reportedly said that this play did not fit his definition of a tragedy.  Many people observe that Antigone did not learn anything from her experiences and claim that Creon was too mean to be a fit tragic hero.  If Antigone is the heroic protagonist of the play, in what sense is she heroic?  Is she saintly, or does she have flaws?  Does a protagonist have to be free of flaws for us to admire her?

Assessment: Choose a study question and respond in a paragraph, citing evidence from the play to support your point(s).

Thanks to Renee Knight for contributing the commentary on this page.

 

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This instructional web was made in July, 2002, by Prof. Eric Hibbison, who is solely responsible for its content.